Hollyoaks' Nikki Sanderson stars in new spin-off documentary as IRL series returns

Note: The following article contains discussion of sexual misconduct.

Hollyoaks IRL has returned for a second series starting today (January 18), looking at real-life people and their experiences that mirror recent storylines in the soap.

Viewers recently saw a harrowing episode in which Maxine Minniver tried to make her way home alone from a night out, and along the way she is intimidated, cat-called, and later sexually assaulted and attacked.

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The latest episode of IRL saw Maxine actress Nikki Sanderson meet Zan Moon, a woman who was sexually harassed on the London Underground and has since become an activist, campaigning for increased CCTV on public transport and collecting women's stories to share on social media, and has met with the Department of Education to discuss harassment in schools.

Recalling her experience on the tube, Zan told Nikki: "He was a big guy and there were no other women on the tube carriage. It was rammed, it was so full, but no-one even said, 'Mate, can you stop'.

"It wasn’t as if I didn’t ask for help... Everyone either just laughed or stared at their phone."

"A basic human right is safety and we are being denied that," she added. "It’s a matter of life or death and that’s how important it is to me."

activist zan moon in hollyoaks irl, in a city street at night
Lime Pictures

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The duo discussed how Hollyoaks covering the story has provided a jumping-off point for families and friends to start talking about these issues, as well as Zan's activism work.

"It was lovely to meet Zan," Nikki stated. "Hearing her story and how she has taken such a negative experience in her life and made so many positive steps forward in making changes, which will keep people safe on our streets, was truly inspiring."

This new episode of Hollyoaks IRL is available to watch now on YouTube, TikTok and Facebook. Further episodes in the series will examine teenager cancer, knife crime, the incel subculture, and alcoholism.

If you've been affected by the issues raised in this story, you can access more information from Rape Crisis England and Wales, who work towards the elimination of all forms of sexual violence and sexual misconduct, on their website or by calling the National Rape Crisis Helpline on 0808 802 9999. Rape Crisis Scotland’s helpline number is 08088 01 03 02.

Readers in the US are encouraged to contact RAINN, or the National Sexual Assault Hotline on 800-656-4673.

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